The most important issue in a gay man’s life is not “coming out”, but coming to terms with the invalidating past. Despite the progress made in recent years, many gay men still wonder, “Are we better off?” The byproduct of growing up gay in a straight world continues to be the internalization of shame, rejection, and anger - a toxic cocktail that can lead to drug abuse, promiscuity, alcoholism, depression, and suicide.
Drawing on contemporary psychological research, the author’s own journey, and the stories of many of his friends and clients, Velvet Rage addresses the myth of gay pride and outlines three stages to emotional well-being for gay men. The revised and expanded edition covers issues related to gay marriage, a broader range of examples that extend beyond middle-class gay men in America, and expansion of the original discussion on living authentically as a gay man.
©2005, 2006, 2012 Alan Downs (P)2012 HighBridge Company
There was quite a bit of information presented, and I think listening to it again might help me access more of it.
The inclusion of anecdotes really helped me relate my own life to the issues described in the book.
Chapter 14, where he talked about life skills.
An owner's manual for the gay life.
This book offers a clear perspective on the life of gay men and the challenges we face dealing with the way our lives feel need to be and how they should be. The perspective really resonates with me and made me sit back and think about how much the shame and expectations of gay life impacted and continue to impact me. Worth every minute of listening pleasure.
One thing - dont pass up that man who may not be perfect because you pass up the chance to meet an amazing person.
Very easy to listen to very easy to enjoy.
Shame impacts everyone.
Alan's tone and approach is heartwarming with its message of hope. This message is presented without flourish. This made the content less entertaining but far more personal and moving. I am grateful for the wisdom shared and have already begun to share some of it with my friends. I recommend the book to every gay person wishing to understand more about their emotional world and to everyone else for the same reason. A little understanding can only help and this book has much to share.
Yes - I enjoyed Alan Downs reading his own words. There are subtleties in his voice that add significance.
How much I can relate to the struggle and the potential for growth he offers.
I haven't. This is the first.
Probably the first chapters where he discusses shame, its origins and manifestations etc. I'd never though about my own shame in those terms before. Very helpful!
Really worth the read, guys.
Really help me to see some of my life more clear!
His voice is very steady
Tell us about yourself!
Haven't read the printed version but ordered it so I could highlight specific portions. Having both wouldn't be a bad idea.
How closely it related to me.
YES!!! Although I didn't have the time to I listened as much as possible.
Some good ideas. But it feels often like the writer believes all gay men have the same problems. He doesn't seem to think any gay man can grow up without being ashamed.
The first few chapters were extremely insightful -- any gay man will see himself in these pages.
The book got derailed when he got into his own story and HIV -- he should have stuck with what happens for most gay men growing up in a straight world, and the tools to overcome that shame. We need tools and support -- not another coming to terms with HIV story.
The first half - definitely.
I just finished this and am still letting the information sink in. If you are experiencing challenges in your personal life And you are a gay man with an urban lifestyle (or longing), I think this can be tremendously helpful in gaining perspective. I am currently working on overcoming infidelity and quickly realized by reading this book that some of the reasons my marriage derailed have much to do with a lack of focus on authenticity. I believe the skills chapter is tremendously helpful and will recommend this to all my friends and family. Just excellent.
The author presents his theory on why (some) gay men cause self harm thru bad life choices. Essentially boils down to internalized 'gay shame' in various manifestations. It's an idea, take it of leave it.
Gay men of older generation and those of the upper class might perhaps more identify with what life the author profiles. As a private psychologist, he obviously only sees highly paying patients. But even then, I question the sweeping statements made by the author of what he thinks is typical for gay men.
I thought this would be a book that guides one to how to cope better with various fates that being gay seems to attract but instead it seems that the author wallows in misery and 2/3 through the book I feel worse about being gay than before.
The narrator's mellow voice adds to the feeling of misery
"A good material for reflection !"
I found the examples of couples and their "problems" very interesting because i feel we all either have people with similar experience or we've experience it ourselves.
A good "read". A great "reader"
This experience finished too quickly! :)
"Interesting insights, doesn't give practical steps"
The main thrust of this book is about how shame enters into the lives of most gay men as children and continues to drive their behaviour all their lives - unless they consciously acknowledge it and resolve it.
Having come from a place of being in reparative therapy, it was refreshing to hear many of the same observations of what drives the self-defeating or addictive behaviour of some gay men, but from a gay-affirming viewpoint. Whether psychological "diagnoses" of stages of leaving shame that the author identifies are "true" or not is a question I do have - while it makes sense to me personally, I wonder if there's good evidence beyond the authors own experience for them?
The book doesn't explain well how to put into practice the skills men (all men, and women) must practice, must do, in order to resolve the shame and be authentic. It emphasises that simply knowing the answer isn't enough - we must 'do' things to change. Yet, the end of the book simply says "do these skills". This seems inadequate, since this is about changing entrenched behaviours. It felt like the book leaves the reader hanging, waiting to hear what they must do.
Smaller issues with the book: Difficult to relate to lifestyle of privilege described; Some people don't have the luxury of working at their passion - they have to make ends meet.
This book made me understand the origins of some of my behaviours and how to change my thought process to reflect a healthier and more positive out look,
"Every gay man should read this."
Better gay relationships.
The resources suggested at the end of the book were not actually available when I went to look on line for them. The pace of the audiobook is a little slow but worth getting through.
There were a few parts that made me cry, laugh and gasp with realisation.
Very few people other than LGBT grow up being told they are wrong, sick, evil, demonic etc... Coming out as gay is only the beginning of healing the negative self image and inner pain most gay men experience growing up in a straight world. Internalised hate, because we believed the people who condemned us, often leads people to very dark places and destructive behaviours. Not just physically self destructive but emotionally also. The key to doing something about this is dealing with the shame issues around being gay. Not just resolving them but moving through to a new life phase where self acceptance and self love replace all the hurt and hate. This book takes the reader on that journey and I heartily recommend it to any gay/bi men and anyone who wishes to understand them more. I also thank Alan Downs for writing this life changing book which I have not only recommended to all my gay male friends but also discussed and promoted on an LGBT radio station where we were discussing gay shame issues.
"Interesting BUT very flawed in presumptuousness"
The demographic Alan Downs celebrates throughout his pages, are very rich A list gay men. He talks about shame, but manages to shame many readers with the 'normality' of their lives that are nothing like his consulting room in Santa Fe! Frustrating generalisations about gay life, no discussion on gender aspects, differences, diversity and though interesting and some good theory, just too insipid and American at times!
For a British audience and worldwide audience and for many in America, the assumption of the 'prevalence' of the Pink Pound and snobbery is hard to bear at points.
No ending, but the model though based on CBT is interesting, but seems to get twisted for an American audience. If based on mindfulness, I've listened to far better CBT/ mindfulness based books. Yes a lot of the stereotypes are true and are brave, but it all seems a little glib and boastful.
Yes, despite it flaws a good listen, but at moments irksome and hard to identify with. Nevertheless an important book to make your mind up over.
"Why didn't I get hold of this years ago"
Narration was soothing, calming and reassuring. The content made a lot of sense to me and to be honest, it would be fairly useful for a lot of people. It was a book that revealed a lot to me about who I am and how I may have been influenced by childhood differences etc. If you are a counselor or therapist, it would be a good read or listen if you have gay or lesbian clients. While the book focuses on gay men, there are interesting parts that could be applied to pretty much anyone struggling with the dymanics of shame, families and relationships.
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